I am deeply saddened about the subject of our first blog post. However, as a Brazilian I feel I should say a few words about Chapecoense, the Brazilian soccer club devastated by the airplane crash in Colombia.
Chapecoense is from a small city in southern Brazil, Chapeco. Every major soccer league around the world has small teams that alternate years playing in the top division and being relegated. Chapecoense, however, managed to remain in Brazil's top division for 3 years since they first made their way up. In the past 3 years, the club showed they are very well organized and able to put together a good team without blowing their budget. All that hard work by the club's managers and players earned them a spot in the final of Conmebol Copa Sudamericana, the South American equivalent to UEFA's Europa Cup.
By now we know that tragedy struck on their way to the most important game in the club's history. Atletico Nacional of Colombia (Chapecoense's opponent in the final) gracefully forfeited the cup as a tribute to Chapecoense, giving them the chance to play in the 2017 Copa Libertadores (equivalent to UEFA's Champions League).
This week Chapecoense began the difficult work of basically starting over. Today they hired a new coach, Vagner Mancini, and top Brazilian clubs have vowed to loan players at no cost.
I truly hope they will be able to rise again and keep their philosophy of being a serious well managed team holding their spot in the top tier Brazilian League and keep making their city proud.